IPAF-longlisted ‘Paulo’: Exhausting and Unsettling, Like the Egyptian Revolution

Paulo has strong links to the vibrant and pro-revolutionary cultural scene in Cairo as well as to the Egyptian security apparatus before and during the time of the revolution."

Play it Again: ‘If, One Day, A People Desires to Live’

In mid-January 2011, "If, One Day, A People Desires..." was my poem of poems.  At the moment, Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi's anthem seemed to encompass all hopes, all movement up and away. It pointed toward a life without chains and a renewal of language. It also didn't hurt that al-Shabbi was a Tunisian poet, and Tunisians … Continue reading Play it Again: ‘If, One Day, A People Desires to Live’

New Releases: ‘Translating Egypt’s Revolution’ and ‘Now That We Have Tasted Hope’

Translating Egypt's Revolution: The Language of Tahrir, ed. Samia Mehrez, is now available from AUC Press. Although it's available for sale online and in AUCP bookstores, its official launch will come on June 9 (7 p.m., Oriental Hall, AUC Downtown Campus). The launch will be paired with a a photo exhibit by Michael Kennedy, who took the shot … Continue reading New Releases: ‘Translating Egypt’s Revolution’ and ‘Now That We Have Tasted Hope’

Soueif’s ‘Cairo: My City’ Keeps Hope for a Thousand Nights and a Night

Why I think Ahdaf Soueif's structural choices in Cairo: My City, Our Revolution were simple but brilliant (from the Egypt Independent): Ahdaf Soueif’s “Cairo: My City, Our Revolution” is an addition to the blossoming genre of “revolution diary” literature. It is also a challenge to the genre, a scuffling of it. Part of what Soueif does in “Cairo: … Continue reading Soueif’s ‘Cairo: My City’ Keeps Hope for a Thousand Nights and a Night

Narrating the ‘Arab Spring’: Who Owns the Story?

By Assmaa Naguib  “Asmaa Mahfouz will never ever ever ever ever be a representative of the revolution.” This passionate statement was made by an audience member at a panel of the "Narrating the Arab Spring" conference that took place over three days in the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University. It was made in response to an … Continue reading Narrating the ‘Arab Spring’: Who Owns the Story?

Tamim al-Barghouti on the Triumph of Narrative and Who’s Ruling Egypt

“This is a revolution and not an uprising.” Poet and political scientist Tamim al-Barghouti, like others at the “Narrating the Arab Spring” conference held these last few days, was concerned about the words we use to describe the political landscape. These words matter, particularly if, as al-Barghouti said, “narrative affects political behavior just like an … Continue reading Tamim al-Barghouti on the Triumph of Narrative and Who’s Ruling Egypt

Novels that ‘Predicted’ a Revolution

Al Jazeera recently interviewed Habib Selmi about his most recent novel, The Women's Orchards. They ask the International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted author (for The Scents of Marie Claire, trans. Fadwa Qasem and published AUC Press) if his latest novel hadn't predicted the revolution. Selmi said that he did not capital-P predict the Tunisian uprising and ouster of President Ben Ali, he was just a good observer of society: